We test a lot of headphones here at CNET, and the good ones tend to set you back more than $100. But a new headphone company, Sol Republic, is hoping to change that with a line of headphones that deliver very good sound and durability for a more affordable price.
In case you're wondering what "Sol" stands for, it has nothing to do with the sun but is an acronym for "soundtrack of life." The company's founders have a good pedigree in the headphone business, and co-founder and CEO Kevin Lee is the son of Monster Cable founder Noel Lee, widely credited for driving the popular Beats by Dr. Dre line of headphones at Monster.
The new line consists of two flavors of Amps in-ear headphones and two flavors of Tracks on-ear headphones that feature "swappable headbands, speakers, and cables in various colors and designs." The Tracks' headband also boasts a proprietary new polymer called FlexTech, which the company says makes the headphones virtually indestructible.
Both the Amps and the Tracks have a built-in microphone for cell phone calls. The Tracks model reviewed here costs $99.99, while the higher-end $129.99 Tracks HD model will debut later this year.
With their deep bass and aggressive sound, these headphones aren't for everyone (read: if you like well-balanced "natural" sounding headphones, these aren't a good fit), but if you're someone who likes a Beats-like sound, the Tracks certainly fit the bill--and cost less.